Article

Five Ways to Improve Your Website and Double Traffic

May 2011, Auto Dealer Monthly - WebXclusive

by Joe Chura - Also by this author

 

There are many great dealership Web platforms today. While many of the website companies provide decent services regarding on-site search engine optimization (SEO), oftentimes once set up, no one revisits the most important aspects of the website or adds to it.

The following are five tips you can use today to improve your website traffic, thus increasing leads and sales.

1. Content is King
The content on your website is extremely important to the site’s rank in the search engines. Providing relevant content frequently will dramatically help your dealership website stand out on search engines. Focus on creating pages for individual vehicle lines and pages dedicated to your geographical locations. Each page should have about 500 words. Search engines favor multimedia pages that include videos, photos and text. If you do not know how to create pages, call your Web provider. If you are unable to add pages or content yourself, I would seriously consider another provider. Some companies make it very easy to add pages.

Do not get overwhelmed with thinking you have to create a page for every vehicle line today. Think long term. If you build one or two pages per week, at the end of the year you will have 52 to 104 unique pages. Gradual content is also great for search.

2. Install WordPress.org
WordPress is a content management system that is extremely powerful, and many employees at Google even use it for their blogs and websites. WordPress is a great platform to generate dealership blogs and content. With a few plug-ins, which require no programming skills, you can generate SEO-friendly meta titles, tags and descriptions (I will explain those in step three). WordPress is also extremely simple to use, as you can easily insert pictures and videos.

Some website providers are able to integrate WordPress into your existing site. If your website provider doesn’t have that capability, you have the option to create a new sub-directory (folder), which they may be able to help you with. In that case, your WordPress site would have a URL of DealershipWebsite.com/blog (or whatever you would like to call it). You can find instructions how to do this yourself at codex.wordpress.org. Best of all, WordPress is free.

3. Meta Titles and Descriptions
As intelligent as Google is, it cannot read minds (yet). Therefore, if you write an article on your upcoming used car sale and do not optimize it correctly, it will have little to no impact in the search engines. Every time you write a blog post, article or page, research to see what people are actually looking up in the search engines. Each page in a site should have relevant meta titles, meta descriptions and original content that people will actually search for.

Believe it or not, the term “dealer” and “dealers” are different, and one may get searched for significantly more. So, review your current website to ensure that your meta descriptions and meta titles are correct. A great way to find out what people are looking for is to look at Google Analytics (which will be discussed in step five). Some website providers may give you access to modify existing titles, while others may not. Many OEM sites don’t have this option at all, which is a good reason to get a standalone website. Focus on your dealership name and your city/state first.

4. Social Media Plug-ins
Chances are you have already seen websites with buttons for Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. These links or buttons are important to provide to your customers to allow them to easily share their favorite vehicle, blog post or anything else interesting on your website. Also, if your content is good enough to be re-tweeted, this will also help build links to your website.

By now, I’m sure you understand the importance of social media and the impact it can have on your business. Your Web provider probably already has this functionality in some fashion and many of the OEM sites have it as well. Use it. Share content you think is great. Don’t do it too often as you will be looked at as a spammer, but sharing a great blog, event or vehicle is a very good way to drive people to your website.

5. Analytics
How can you measure how well a website provider or Internet director is performing without first establishing a baseline, then regularly reviewing metrics? A huge advantage of the Web is that everything is trackable. Many dealer website companies provide their own analytics. While that is definitely beneficial, I strongly recommend including Google Analytics on your site as well. Google Analytics is very easy to install; it’s a couple lines of code that need to be inserted into your website. I recommend you set this up yourself at Google.com/analytics and e-mail the code to the provider. That way, regardless of who your future provider may be, you will have the history for comparison.

Google Analytics is free, and it provides nearly everything you need to know to measure your performance. Also, it’s a great tool to understand how effective your other vendors are. For example, did your local paper tell you that they would include a link to your dealership’s website on their home page? Do you know if anyone is actually clicking on it?

Vol. 8, Issue 3

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